Monday 6 January 2014

Requiem: Poems of the Terezin Ghetto

Requiem: Poems of the Terezin Ghetto by Paul B. Janeczko (Candlewick Press/Walker Books)
PB RRP $16.95
ISBN 9780763664657
Reviewed by Anastasia Gonis

‘I saw many of the poems in it as solemn songs to the memory of the people who died within the walls of Theresienstadt’.

This powerful and profoundly moving collection of 35 poems has been informed by the writer’s research. Based on historical events and facts, the poems concentrate on the Czech village of Terezin (or Theresienstadt), which was used by the Germans as a way station to house the Jews of Prague on their way to the gas chambers.

The poems cover amongst other subjects: last goodbyes, letters from lovers, suicides, words of love, partings, the unbearable act of sorting the collected bundles, and several that describe the feelings of guards towards their prisoners. Included to accent the poetry are 9 historical illustrations by the inmates, three of which are double spreads.

This book is a valuable documentation on the tragic lives of the people at Terezin concentration camp. Readers interested in the subject can also refer to the extensive online information about this time in history, the area and its people.

A bibliography is listed with website information, foreign words and phrases and other resource references.

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